Home » Singapore-flagged Cargo Vessel Collides With Baltimore’s Key Bridge, Bringing It Down

Singapore-flagged Cargo Vessel Collides With Baltimore’s Key Bridge, Bringing It Down


A container ship registered in Singapore rammed into a major bridge in Baltimore, in the U.S. state of Maryland, early Tuesday, causing it to collapse in a matter of seconds and creating a terrifying scene as several vehicles plunged into the chilly river below.

It was not clear why the cargo ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the middle of the night, or how many people might be in the waters of the busy harbor near a key port. Rescuers pulled two people from the water by mid-morning and searched for more.

One official called it a “developing mass casualty event.”

The ship smashed into one of the bridge’s supports, causing the structure to break apart like a toy. It tumbled into the water almost instantly – a shocking spectacle that was captured on video and posted on social media. The vessel, called the Dali, caught fire, and thick, black smoke billowed out of it.

Synergy Marine Group, which owns and manages the Dali, confirmed the vessel hit a pillar of the bridge at about 1:30 a.m. while in control of one or more pilots, who are local specialists who help navigate vessels safely into ports.

It said all 22 crew members, including the two pilots on board, were accounted for, and there were no reports of any injuries.

The Dali was headed from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and flying under a Singapore flag, according to data from Marine Traffic. The 95,000 gross tonnage container ship is about 985 feet (300 meters) long and about 157 feet (48 meters) wide, according to the website.

In a statement, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) confirmed that the Dali was a Singapore-registered vessel.

“MPA is in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard and the ship management company to provide the necessary assistance,” the statement said. “As the flag state, MPA will provide full cooperation to the U.S. Coast Guard in its investigations. MPA will also be investigating the incident.”

Danish shipping giant Maersk said it had chartered the vessel. No Maersk crew and personnel were on board at the time of the incident.

“Never would you think that you would see, physically see, the Key Bridge tumble down like that. It looked like something out of an action movie,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said, calling it “an unthinkable tragedy.”

The collapse is sure to create a logistical nightmare for months, if not years, for the East Coast, shutting down ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore and snarling cargo and commuter traffic.

Fire Chief James Wallace said authorities “may be looking for upwards of seven people” but said that number could change. Other officials declined to give figures. It was not clear if the two rescued were included in the seven cited by the fire chief.

Authorities said a crew of unknown size was working on the bridge at the time of the collapse and that sonar had detected cars in the water, which is about 50 feet (15 meters) deep. The water temperature was about 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) before dawn Tuesday, according to a buoy that collects data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Earlier, Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, told The Associated Press that several vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse, including one the size of a tractor-trailer truck.

The bridge came down in the middle of night when traffic would be lighter than during the day when thousands of cars traverse the span.

As the sun rose Tuesday, jagged remnants of the bridge jutted up from the water’s surface. The on-ramp ended abruptly where the span once began.

Cartwright said that some cargo appeared to be dangling from the bridge, which spans the Patapsco River at the entrance to a busy harbor. The river leads to the Port of Baltimore, a major hub for shipping on the East Coast.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said all vessel traffic into and out of the port would be suspended until further notice, though the facility was still open to trucks.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency and said he was working to get federal resources deployed. The FBI was on the scene, but said there was no credible information to suggest terrorism.

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